Adopting cloud-based platforms can improve almost every facet of an organization’s day-to-day operations, including cost management, communication, and scalability. However, migrating operations to internet-accessible data centers comes with its challenges.
One of the major obstacles plaguing cloud-based platforms is security, with 95% of organizations citing this as a moderate to extreme concern. Sending data via online channels and storing it in the cloud risks its exposure and provides an opportunity for access by malicious actors.
While security should be top of mind for every business, it shouldn’t become a barrier preventing organizations from adopting cloud platforms. Provided you are prepared and take the necessary measures to properly protect data, you can enjoy the benefits of the cloud without compromising information security.
Read on to find out the key steps to executing an effective cloud security management strategy.
1. Prepare to Face and Overcome Security Challenges
There’s no denying that cloud-based platforms can be problematic from a security perspective, so it’s important to prepare appropriately.
Switching to the cloud has the potential to change your internal organization workflow, the ways departments work, and how they work together.
Aside from changing workflows, communication, and collaboration, new cloud platforms introduce security conundrums that didn’t exist before. For example, shared project folders need to be protected when in transit and while being stored.
But cloud integration preparation and readiness—knowing what these changes are and how to manage them—can make a big difference in the implementation and adoption process.
The same logic applies to some of the main security challenges many CEOs cite as they consider cloud migration. For example, the integration of cloud platforms could lead to or uncover potential misconfiguration, minimizing access privileges, poor password health, lack of monitoring capability, link sharing risks, and targeted cyber attacks.
These challenges all have solutions, but they should be well thought out and implemented on a proactive basis.
Before you embark upon your journey into the cloud, take a look at this insightful checklist to evaluate your readiness and response.
2. Consider Security When Deciding on a Particular Platform
A major component of being proactive is considering cloud data security as a key determining factor in the initial decision to move forward with a particular platform. You don’t want to adopt a new system and find out after integration that it has introduced a whole host of issues that are overwhelming to address.
Bear in mind that some areas of security will be the responsibility of the cloud provider. Determining what falls on your organization versus the cloud security provider (CSP) could seriously impact the amount of manpower you need to oversee security.
You don’t want to assume your CSP is taking care of one aspect only to find it’s your responsibility.
But you also don’t want to waste resources preparing to secure a certain component only to discover that it’s the provider’s responsibility.
From a budget perspective, whatever additional security measures you need to provide (upfront and ongoing) should factor into your overall cost estimation of cloud platform integration.
3. Consider Utilizing Fewer Cloud Platforms
You likely want the best of the best for each particular cloud-based task. But sometimes it can be beneficial to look out for platforms that offer multiple utilities, limiting the number of new systems you need to adopt.
Multi-cloud organizations report more security incidents than those using a single platform.
When your organization adopts a large number of separate platforms, you need to work with multiple vendors on a broader range of security issues. More vendors means more opportunities for security compromise.
By streamlining your approach to cloud computing, you have the opportunity to build better relationships with a small number of vendors and will likely face fewer security challenges.
The unique risks of hybrid-cloud or multi-cloud environments require equally unique preparation to endure security incidents. Learn more about how to manage your journey into the cloud with our free checklist.
4. Provide Proper Training for Security Teams
Teams who are used to securing traditional data centers can’t be expected to automatically translate their experience to the cloud.
The latter introduces a range of new issues that need to be addressed.
- A recent report found that “lack of qualified staff” is the top operational security headache, affecting 47% of organizations.
- Cloud security providers often employee speedy update rollouts. Your security team needs to be prepared to manage a faster pace of updates.
- Working with third-party providers requires a high level of communication and collaboration between the in-house security personnel and any external team members.
While providing proper training to existing team members is crucial, you may also find it beneficial to look for fresh talent.
Seasoned security professionals offer a high level of knowledge in cloud computing and managing multi-cloud environments with precision and expertise. Partnering with a managed security services provider specializing in hybrid cloud environments is also a viable option that allows you to diversify your team with the ability to quickly scale as security needs arise.
5. Spend Time Planning Your Cloud Integration
Many organizations learn the hard way that cloud infrastructures and legacy systems are frequently incompatible. Aside from functionality, there’s often a misfit on the security front.
For example, many cloud platforms come with intensive logging capabilities that adoptees simply don’t know how to use properly. In addition, you will have configuration and access obstacles to overcome. These snowball as you deal with an increasing number of platforms that need to fit together for business operations.
According to the National Security Agency (NSA), misconfiguration of cloud resources, which can create a backdoor for attackers, remains the most preventable cloud vulnerability.
Prior to implementing a new platform, it’s wise to take time to plan its integration. Aside from helping ensure a secure transition, this will enable you to carefully plan logistical components, such that workflows suffer minimal disruption. Be sure to work closely with cloud platform providers to find out how to set up your infrastructure to make the most of what’s on offer.
Transitioning to the cloud may be a timid process as you need to assess your team’s readiness to take each step before diving in. However, the extra time spent will be worth it. It’s far better to proceed with a cautious rollout of new systems than to jump in and face a massive data breach right off the bat.
6. Work with a Trusted Partner
While there are many steps organizations can take to secure their cloud infrastructure, nothing beats working with experts. A trusted partner with extensive experience in cloud incident readiness and response can provide boundless knowledge in cloud security solutions.
Cloud environments have inherent risks that require close attention. Mitiga can help you prepare for and execute a shift to cloud platforms while ensuring the ongoing protection of data. Our combination of state-of-the-art technology and vast cloud-computing expertise enables us to provide premium managed security services that boost breach preparedness and cyber resiliency.
Mitiga’s Incident Response & Readiness (IR2) services can be customized to fit the needs of your organization. We offer a broad scope of solutions, including hybrid cloud security setup and integration, continuous incident readiness, response and containment, and eradication and recovery. With Mitiga, you can be sure that your enterprise will receive world-class support before, during, and after an incident.
Are you interested in learning more about transitioning to the cloud?
Use Mitiga’s ‘Journey to the Cloud’ checklist to evaluate the state of your readiness and your ability to respond rapidly to security incidents. Securing your cloud starts with an understanding of the areas within your organization that may be at risk and the types of threats your organization needs to prepare against.